I Am Not The Christ (And neither are you)

I am not the Christ John the Baptist

And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” John 1:19-20

I have failed as a leader. As a father, most importantly, and also as a leader in the fire department. Many of the scraps of wisdom you read on this blog come from my failures. I offer what I offer so you don’t have to fail where I did. You can learn from experience but it doesn’t have to be your own. I invite you to learn from mine. And this idea that I am not the Christ, that was one of my greatest failures of all.

Maybe you’re saying to yourself right now, “That’s not a problem for me. Of course I know I’m not the Christ.” If that’s you then let me just say, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about intellectual understanding. I’m talking about behavior. In my case, I was one of those people: a type A personality. I tried–to the point of exhaustion–to be the rising sun of my organization and my family: simultaneously.

It doesn’t work.

I can tell you (because I’ve lived it) that when you forget you’re not the Christ you’ll fail. More specifically, you’ll tend to experience the following 5 problems: Continue reading

The 2 Reasons We Don’t Recognize God’s Personality

is God a person

(John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. John 1:15-18

The Law And It’s Result

“…the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” The law was given through Moses, and what did we get when all we had was the law? When Moses was up on the mountain receiving the law, receiving the stone tablets engraved with the ten commandments, he was gone from the people for awhile. And the people grew tired of waiting. They gave up on Moses, and they gave up on God Himself too. They created their own thing to worship, an idol, and they threw a party. And when Moses finally came down from the mountain and saw what had happened, he was devastated. He broke the stone tablets in anger and 3,000 of the idol worshippers died that day. (Exodus Chapter 32)

The law brings death, because we can’t measure up to it, we can’t meet that standard. The law is important, even as we saw in the last blog post on John 1:14, because the law is truth. The law reveals the truth of our sin. And the wages of sin is death. So the truth of the law is essential. It’s the educator, as Paul said, yet it brings death. (Galatians 3:24)

Jesus’ Grace And Truth

But then came Jesus. Continue reading

Black and White Pastors Swap Pulpits To Promote Racial Unity

These guys are amazing: Initiative Network. God’s using them to accomplish some great things–among them–a black and a white pastor swap pulpits.

DALLAS — From a disturbing fraternity chant to protests over the police shootings of black teens,tensions have flared recently over race relations in America.

But on Palm Sunday, two Dallas pastors from opposite sides of the city found a new way to deliver a powerful message to their congregations.

They traded pulpits for a day, preaching to the other’s church.

Read the rest of the story. (USA TODAY)

If you’re interested in learning about the people God’s using to accomplish this sort of thing, check out this video from InitiativeNetwork.org.

The Grace/Truth Equation

Grace/Truth Equation

Never Bored Again

I was talking with a thirty-something last night and he and I both concluded we never feel bored. Maybe that’s not surprising. There’s Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. There’s podcasts, blogs, and Google searches. There are 300 hours of new video uploaded to Youtube–every minute, more than 150,000 new Reddit posts and submissions each day, and at the bottom of every Google News category there’s a link that says, “More Sci/Tech stories,” or “More Sports stories,” or “More U.S. stories,” or “More World stories.”

More.

There’s more amazing information available to occupy our attention than ever before. (And I haven’t even touched on TV, music, movies, and video games.)

I love living at this point in the time-space continuum where we can have such an incredible amount of information available to us. I love doing research. I love checking out Youtube videos, articles, and subreddits in my areas of interest. But there’s a catch. Continue reading

Unlikely by Kevin Palau: A Book Review

Unlikely by Kevin PalauSome of you might be offended by this book review. If you find yourself beginning to lean in that direction I hope and pray you’ll read the entire article and, more importantly, read Kevin Palau’s book, Unlikely. I’m convinced God’s Holy Spirit is behind this movement.

Palau’s Purpose

Palau’s purpose in writing this book is to tell the amazing story of what God is doing in and around the city of Portland, Oregon. God does amazing things in many cities, but His work in Portland is evidence He can do what He wants, when He wants, wherever He wants. Because Portland is weird (and they like it that way). Portland is a place where 8,000, many of whom are naked, cycle through the streets to remind people of the positive impact cycling has on the environment. Continue reading

“All they had was the real, living presence of Jesus Christ…”

Speaking of the early church in the Roman Empire, Kevin Palau writes:

“All they had was the real, living presence of Jesus Christ himself–living in them through the Holy Spirit, giving them what they needed to bear witness and radically love in ways the world could not explain.” From Palau’s book Unlikely)

Unlikely is one of the most important books I’ve read in years. It’s just what I needed to hear. You might have the same reaction: Unlikely: Setting Aside Our Differences to Live Out the Gospel

Why Women Are More Amazing Than Men (And what women have in common with Jesus Christ)

what women and Jesus have in common

“He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:11-13

Women Are More Amazing Than Men

Women are amazing, aren’t they? I mean, they have an ability no man has. They have the ability to Continue reading

Every day that goes by I’m less impressed

Every day that goes by I’m less impressed with me, and more impressed with Jesus.

8/1/15 Edit: So after finishing the blog post for Saturday, August 1, 2015, I just googled this statement to see if anyone else might have said something similar. And I noticed that I misspelled Jesus’ name. (It’s now corrected.)

Now I’m even less impressed.

Joseph’s 5 Steps to Avoid Temptation: Genesis 39:6-23

how to resist temptation

(Tied for the most popular post of 2014 so far, from the archives)

Read Genesis 39:6-23

Genesis 39:6-23

I don’t know what Joseph’s early responsibilities were when he first began at Potiphar’s house, but they may have been intensely physical, because Joseph was ripped (“well built” verse six tells us). He was also a good looking guy. And because of this, Joseph’s master’s wife notices him, and begins to proposition him, without much in the way of subtlety either.

“Come to bed with me!” she says to him. Continue reading

Rejected

Why doesn't God reveal Himself

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, (John 1:9-12)

Rejected

When I was 9 years old I lived just south of Chicago, at 14910 South Kenton St., in Midlothian, Illinois. Somehow all the other kids on that street rejected me. They unanimously decided to exclude me from all their games and group activities. It was pretty bad. The level of hostility was pretty high. One time they even Continue reading